Monday night’s Pirates/Dodgers match-up was kismit in the making. Before the game I wrote this article because we weren’t sure if scheduled starter Brandon McCarthy was going to be able to start after we discovered that he suffered a dislocated non-pitching shoulder injury over training in the weight room. McCarthy was originally supposed to pitch on Saturday night against the Padres but was pushed back, so the Dodgers had Clayton Kershaw start on Saturday. Then Sunday night’s game against San Diego was rained out, and again we were unsure whether McCarthy could pitch tonight.
Pirates 1 5 1
Dodgers 12 15 1
I guess we were forgetting that this is Brandon McCarthy and he lives on the disabled list. I actually think he has a three-bedroom condo there and receives his mail addressed to: Brandon McCarthy care of the disabled list. So it was to nobody’s surprise when we saw the club announce that he was placed on the DL with that shoulder injury and Adam Liberatore recalled from Oklahoma City.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 8, 2017
So Alex Wood got the start, and man I’m glad he did. Wood was dominating, pitching five innings and allowing just two hits while striking out 11. Wood’s career best for strikeouts is 13 and this is his fifth 10+ strikeout game in his career. The Dodgers scored 10 runs before the fifth inning against opposing starter Trevor Williams and pounded the Pirates 12-1.
It’s quite joyful to watch the Dodgers torment a moribund club like the Pirates. The Bucs are not the same club we saw reach the playoffs in three consecutive seasons from 2013-2015. This team can’t hit, can’t field and one of their offensive stars Starling Marte was suspended for using PEDs and violating Major league baseball’s drug policy. More shocking is the decline of former MVP Andrew McCutchen. We’ve seen his batting and defensive skills take a nose dive over the last couple of years and as he goes so do the Pirates.
The Dodgers scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by a grand slam home run from Chris Taylor. Andrew Toles and Corey Seager both reached on soft little grounders back to the box with Williams making a throwing error on Seager’s dribbler. After Justin Turner flied out to McCutchen, Cody Bellinger walked to load the bases. Joc Pederson’s line drive single to right scored the first run. Then Taylor hit the Dodger’s third slam of the season to put the Dodgers up 5-0. Then one out later Yasiel Puig got into the fun with a monster solo home run, (his sixth of the season) and the Dodgers had an early 6-0 lead.
The boys in blue added two more in the third, fourth, and seventh frames. Joc and Taylor both single and Yasmani Grandal’s double down the line plated two runs and the Dodgers went ahead 8-0. Consecutive singles from Toles, Seager, and Turner brought home another run, and Joc doubled in Seager to put the Dodgers up 10-0. The Dodgers added another pair of runs in the seventh when Kike Hernandez doubled off the third base bag with the bases loaded. That’s the kind of night the Dodgers had. They’ve now scored 44 runs in their last five games. They haven’t had a stretch like that since 2009 apparently.
Joc had three hits tonight, and Toles, Seager, and Taylor each had two. The Dodgers were 5 for 11 with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers had 5 extra-base hits of their 15 on the night.
Wood is a good pitcher, but of course he can’t pitch past the fifth inning, so the bullpen had to come in. Ross Stripling relieved him in the sixth and proceeded to ruin the shutout by allowing a run to the Buccos. Stripling righted the ship tossing a scoreless seventh inning preserving the 9-run Dodger lead. Stripling tossed the eighth inning before handing the ball to newly called up Adam Liberatore to finish the game. On the funny side former Dodger Josh Lindblom (remember him?) made 87 pitches in relief for the Pirates. Poor guy.
The Dodgers now improve to 18-14 on the season and move to within 2 games of first place Colorado in the NL West. The Rockies and Cubs were rained out tonight in Denver, so the Dodgers gain a half game in the standings.
It looks like Julio Urias is going to pitch on Tuesday evening in game 2. The Pirates will counter with right hander Ian Nova, who’s been there ace this season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM. The Dodgers will look for their fourth straight win.